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Maize supplies in Southern Africa for Marketing Year (MY) 2022/23 are estimated to be close to the five-year average, but 10 percent below MY 2021/22. Production in the 2021/22 agricultural year was negatively impacted by the delayed onset of rains, low cumulative rainfall, and uneven temporal distribution of rainfall in many countries. The largest annual reductions in harvest came from the region’s main producers and exporters including Zambia (-25%), Malawi (-19%), South Africa (-10%), and Tanzania (-9%). Above average (30%) opening stocks for MY 2022/23 helped offset the reduction in harvest.
While the region is expected to be self-sufficient in maize this MY with South Africa exports to international markets, the region’s self-sufficiency ratio is below average (Annex II). South Africa and Zambia have large exportable maize surpluses in MY 2022/23, while Tanzania, Malawi, and Mozambique will have the most modest surpluses (Figure 2). Zimbabwe, Angola, Botswana, Lesotho, Namibia, Eswatini (BLNE), and southern DRC are typically maize deficit countries that will continue to source maize from regional markets. While crop assessment figures are still pending, Madagascar and Mozambique are expected to harvest near average rice production but continue facing a rice deficit.
Prices in South Africa are expected to track international prices and as a result high prices will be transmitted to import dependent BLNE countries. Even though July 2022 maize prices decreased seasonally with the completion of harvest, prices remain above July 2021 and five-year average levels. Local prices are expected to increase atypically as the lean season approaches due to reduced stocks relative to strong export demand. In countries served by South Africa, prices may be volatile, reflecting international reference market trends, while prices will likely remain elevated in those countries served by Zambia and Tanzania.